These days it’s almost impossible to have a conversation about education without hearing the rallying call for the adoption of new technology in the classroom – and with good reason! Technology and social media have changed traditional consumption patterns for today’s students, and consequently the priorities of educators may need to change accordingly. Here are some statistics that may surprise you:

  • Forty-six percent of drivers aged 18 to 24 said they would choose Internet access over owning a car, according to the research firm Gartner. Getting the keys to your first car used to be the ultimate rite of passage (I know it was for me a more than a decade ago), but today’s learners are more interested in having easy access to the information highway than the interstate. Recognizing this shift drives home the need to create dynamic learning spaces that seamlessly integrate online and offline components.
  • The amount of time people aged 12 to 24 spend watching television is steadily decreasing. Plopping down on the couch and turning on the TV used to be a good way to passively wind down after a long day in the classroom – but now these students are looking to do more than just surf the channels. According to Nielsen viewership data this cohort is still watching the same amount of content but are doing it either on their laptops or mobile devices or are multitasking and surfing the internet while watching their shows. As this generation gets more comfortable getting content and performing multiple tasks on the go, it’s going to be vital to make sure that their classroom can go with them.
  • 62% of students want access to their school’s social media and online properties from their mobile device. Long gone is the sentiment of what you learn at school stays at school – these days the majority of students want the option to interact with the material their schools have online when they want to. Making sure that the information students want is available to them when they want it on the platform they want it on is going to be a crucial component in interacting with today’s active learners.
  • On average, people between the age of 8 and 18 spend about 11 hours a day “plugged –in.” Whether it just means walking around with their smartphone or time spent surfing the web on their laptop – the amount of time in which students can be exposed to material has significantly increased. Education solely within the walls of the classroom has been rapidly outmoded by the ubiquity of connectivity which means that identifying ways to continually engage students in the ways they are connecting to each other is important. In fact, when added up, students have spent 517 years inside Blackboard Mobile Learn apps (on iOS and Android)!

While the next generation student’s preferences may be changing faster than any other generation before them – it’s clear that the trend is towards more engagement through technology.  Are you prepared to meet those preferences?

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